September 24, 2023


Extraordinary care

Upcoming half-marathon, 5K events support behavioral health; discounted registration fees available

Healthy Boiler graphic

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), exercise has been researched and validated for treating a variety of mental issues and mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, addictions, grief, relationship problems, dementia and personality disorders.

“Medications used in the treatment of mental illness can increase levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain,” says Whitney Soto, RN health coach at the Center for Healthy Living (CHL) on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. “Physical activity itself can also trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters help regulate mood and energy, increase motivation, reduce stress and more.”

In addition, sunshine is most often linked to feelings of cheerfulness and positivity, so it’s no wonder sunshine also can be a mood enhancer, literally. And the bonus is that it’s free. If all goes well, the sun will be shining on May 7 and Oct. 22 to add an extra behavioral health benefit to two upcoming events: OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and 5K and the Boilermaker Half-Marathon & 5K.

“Exposure to sunlight systemically triggers the production of serotonin, sometimes referred to as the ‘happy hormone,’” says Amanda Hathcock, behavioral health counselor at the CHL.

For those reasons and more, Human Resources is again offering discounted registration fees for this year’s OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and 5K as well as the Boilermaker Half-Marathon & 5K. The events support the behavioral health, financial wellness, physical health and social wellness pillars of the Healthy Boiler Program.

OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and 5K — May 7

Employees interested in participating in the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon or 5K can register at the HR-sponsored discounted rates here. The password is PU22.

Those who chose to defer their registrations from past events that were canceled because of COVID-19 must register via the following links by April 22 to use the funds:

  • 5K deferrals must register here. The password is PU22.
  • Mini-Marathon deferrals must register here. The password is PU22.

More information on the event is available online at

Boilermaker Half-Marathon & 5K — Oct. 22

To register, visit the 2022 Purdue Boilermaker Half-Marathon & 5K webpage and select either the mini-marathon or the 5K. At the end of the registration process, use the following codes by Oct. 1 to receive the discounted registration fee.

  • EWChalf for $30 registration fee (plus online processing) for the Boilermaker Half-Marathon.
  • EWC5k for the $15 registration fee (plus online processing) for the Boilermaker 5K.

More information on the event is available at


To assist faculty and staff

Review the “Mental Health Resources” webpage for a variety of available resources for faculty and staff, including LiveHealth Online and SupportLinc, which are in place to provide behavioral health support – as well as information on Purdue’s health plan coverage for mental health and substance abuse and behavioral health referral locations for the West Lafayette, Fort Wayne and Northwest campuses. 

To assist students

Faculty and staff who work with students or have a student at home can direct students to the resources below for behavioral health assistance. Note: LiveHealth Online Psychology and LiveHealth Online Psychiatry services also are available to Purdue students who are covered on a Purdue health plan. Mental health visits through LiveHealth Online are covered at 100% on the Purdue student health plan.  

Office of the Dean of Students

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)